Gascoyne Junction
Collage of Gascoyne Junction.

It's hot, it's dry, it's dusty, in the middle of nowhere where the Lyons and Gascoyne Rivers intersect. In short it's Gascoyne Junction. Oh, and the rivers rarely run with anything but sand. For all that Gascoyne Junction has something going for it. Maybe it's the fact that it is the gateway town to Mount Augustus National Park with a rock 2½ times bigger than Uluru. Maybe it's because just 175km to the west lies Carnarvon and the beginning of a stretch of coastline that rivals anything else in the country. Maybe it's because 60km north lies the Kennedy Ranges with their unique geology, gorges and lack of development. Maybe it's just because no one else is out there.

Lieutenant George Grey had explored the area in 1839 and Gascoyne Junction had a police presence as early as 1883. A police station had been built which was joined by a general store, hotel and a Roads Board building which still plays an historical role today. After years of requests from the townspeople the Western Australian government finally relented and in 1912 proclaimed the town 'Killili' - the aboriginal name for the place. It wasn't until 1939 that the name was changed to Gascoyne Junction.

The locale abounds with anecdotes of indigenous cannabilism, poisonings of station personnel by Chinese Cooks and people mysteriously disappearing.

Today it is difficult to understand how and why Gascoyne Junction exists. It is off the beaten track and apart from local stations the majority of visitors are passing through to see Mount Augustus. An important gas pipeline runs from the North-West Shelf to Perth but with it's self contained camps and airports it has little impact on the region. There was once small pockets of gold mining in the vicinity which has all but dried up although like anywhere in the West Australian bush there is always a geologist or surveyor lurking behind the next tree in search of new mineral deposits.

If you're visiting the stunning beaches of Coral Bay, Exmouth, Sharks Bay or Kalbarri then a detour into the region around Gascoyne Junction may just get you a fix of the 'outback'.


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